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WORLD BRIEFS


RUSSIA: 39 missing off collapsed oil rig

Time appeared to be running out to rescue 39 people still missing more than a day after an oil rig capsized and sank in stormy, freezing waters off the eastern coast. The owner of the rig said life rafts with people aboard were spotted in the Sea of Okhotsk. The government would not confirm the report. The chances of survival in the 33.9-degree water appeared slim. Of 67 men aboard, 14 were plucked alive from the icy water immediately after the accident and taken to a hospital. Workers have since pulled out 10 bodies from the Sea of Okhotsk, and there are four more bodies that haven't been recovered yet, the Emergencies Ministry said. The Kolskaya floating platform was being towed back to port in a fierce storm when a strong wave broke some of its equipment and portholes in the crew's dining room, and it started sinking.


AFGHANISTAN: Defying Karzai, night raids to go on

NATO will carry out nighttime kill-and-capture raids against suspected insurgents with increased participation from Afghan special forces, the alliance said Monday, after repeated protests by President Hamid Karzai. The raids have become a flash point for anger over foreign meddling in Afghanistan and whether detention operations will be run by the Afghans or Americans. Karzai has demanded that foreign troops stop entering homes, saying Afghans cannot feel secure if they think soldiers might burst into their houses in the middle of the night. Karzai's office said that during a National Security Council meeting late Sunday the president emphasized the need to prevent civilian casualties, saying the casualties and the night raids on homes "have created serious problems."


SYRIA: Observers OKd; opposition doubtful

Syria agreed Monday to an Arab League plan to send in foreign monitors, bowing to growing international pressure to end its bloody crackdown on a nine-month uprising. The opposition, however, saw the deal as a stalling tactic, especially given reports by activists that more than 100 people were killed on the same day. Arab League chief Nabil Elaraby said in Cairo that an initial mission headed by one of his assistants will go to Syria in a day or two to discuss plans for 500 observers to eventually be deployed around the country. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem rejected accusations the regime was trying to stall, though it has delayed the monitoring agreement for weeks.

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